Friday, October 27, 2006

Everyone can play!

Welcome to Whack-a-Sex-Offender, the game in which government officials get as crazy as they wanna be to show just how tough they are on sex offenders! Check out the latest news from New Jersey. In case you don't want to bother reading the article, here are some excerpts:

The state Parole Board yesterday reimposed a curfew prohibiting registered sex offenders from opening their doors during trick-or-treating hours. If a parole officer or other law enforcement official comes knocking, though, the offenders are ordered to let them in.

Sex offenders also are forbidden from attending Halloween parties, from going trick-or-treating, and from wearing any costume that obscures their identity.

Any offender who is spotted handing out candy could be cited for a parole violation and sent back to jail for up to 24 months.

The curfew - which will be imposed on about 2,200 sex offenders - will run from 3 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday. The Parole Board will make exceptions if the offender needs to go to work. If a community holds Halloween events on a different day, the same rules will be in effect.

You'd figure that this was all to prevent sex offenders from, you know, re-offending. Not so!

"The purpose is to prevent people with sex offenses in their past from making initial contacts with potential victims," said John D'Amico, the chairman of the Parole Board.

At least Mr. D'Amico is honest about the prospects of these restrictions actually protecting anyone.

D'Amico said that there had never been any reported assaults against children by registered sex offenders on Halloween.

But, D'Amico said, Halloween events could allow a sex offender to establish a relationship with a child that would foster trust and later result in an assault. couldn't pay for better theatre.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Regarding Draakengard...

...I got that voicemail, you jackals. Very funny.


I just flew back from England (this is where I'm supposed to say, "And boy are my arms tired!") and boy am I tired! You wouldn't think that sitting on a plane could wear you out, but it can, and did. Still, the awesomeness of England made it well worth the trip, even taking into account my strong dislike of flying. I know that, statistically speaking, I'm safer on a plane than in my car, but then again I don't have to worry about falling 33,000 feet out of my Corolla.

I managed to get four hours' sleep on the flight over (nap sponsored by Prince Valium), so I arrived at Heathrow relatively fresh compared to other trips. In fact, that selfsame day I visited Bletchley Park, where the Brits cracked the Enigma code. Very neat place. During the trip I also visited the Winston Churchill Museum, Dover Castle (where the white cliffs are), various spots in London, and a supermarket. That last one sounds dull, but it wasn't. I got to peek around and see what the English buy at their version of Acme, otherwise known as Waitrose. Most of the stuff was unfamiliar, but I did see Betty Crocker, Kellogg's and, of course, Coca-Cola. The weather was clear by English standards, meaning it was variably mostly sunny and completely cloudy, but there was little rain, and my umbrella was ne'er unfurled. I also discovered that asking for root beer in an English restaurant is like putting Republicans in charge of Congress: you get nowhere. Trying to describe the taste of root beer is even harder, but I did my darnedest. I said root beer was like chocolate soda with a touch of cinnamon, but you can post a better description in the comments if you have one.

Getting back was fun. The check-in lines were mobbed, as was security, so by the time I finished all that rigamarole my flight was on last call. I ran like Bruce Jenner to my gate, leaping luggage and dodging strollers and was the last person on the plane. Naturally the plane didn't get going until nearly one hour late, so my athletics were as unnecessary as they were unappreciated. My seatmate was quite the Gloomy Gus, and his mood was not improved by the empty plastic water bottle I accidentally dropped on his head. Well. Anyway, I saw the 3rd X-Men film on the way back, though, which was fun though utterly predictable. I got into Philadelphia, had to steal a cab from an autocratic yet inept taxi-Nazi*, and got home to homemade fettucini Alfredo. Did I ever say what a treasure Dan is?

Oh, and I did see the BSG episode that aired whilst I was away, so I am now unspoilerable.

* Isn't there something really odd about this word pairing? I can't take my eyes off it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ugh, and ugh

Today I quested to recover my poor Corolla from the clutches of the Towing and Impoundment division of the Philadelphia Parking Authority, who'd seized in Tuesday night because the commonwealth suspended my registration. I got that all squared away with PennDOT, and even took the trip to Traffic Court in stride, but trying to get a cab from court to the impound lot was an ordeal. Dan came with me, though, turning a dreadfully sucky experience into one that merely sucked. I was ultimately successful, and at 1:30 pm today I rescued my car from its Northeast Philly gulag.

I had to write a very pointed and dismayed email to the Pennsylvania Green Party, who wrote me asking for donations to the U.S. Senate campaign of Carl Romanelli. I am a card-carrying member of the Green Party, and would ordinarily be inclined to vote for their candidate but for the fact that Romanelli is pretty much a Republican sock puppet. Seriously, the man has gotten the lion's share of his campaign funding from Santorum supporters who hope to siphon votes away from Bob Casey, Jr. Actually, I'd say it was the dragon's share, because the only non-GOP money Romanelli's gotten is from himself in the amount of about 30 bucks. Pathetic. Anway, I wrote the Greens and told them that I'd be donating zero dollars and fuck-you cents to Romanelli's campaign. Say what you will about Casey, and you could say alot, but at least he's not on Santorum's payroll.

Sometimes liberals can be so damned foolish.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Purity and Politics

I don't know if anyone's been following the 10th district congressional race, but it's become more interesting because of news of the Republican incumbent's affair. Check out my favorite quote from the article:

Some voters will make up their minds on other issues. But the outcome may rest with the likes of Wade Whitney, 75, a Republican since the days of Dwight Eisenhower.

"Sure, the affair matters," he said, standing outside the post office in tiny Dalton. "We don't condone that kind of stuff. A man should be able to resist temptation...

"But I can't bear the idea of the Democrats taking over in Washington. How am I going to vote? I'm up on top of the telephone poll. This is the toughest decision I can remember."

I've always felt that voting on moral values was pretty dumb, but I'm starting to think that, many times, it's also pretty selective. Clinton did essentially the same thing Sherwood did, except Clinton was foolish enough to lie (or at the very least closely pare the truth) about it under oath. Republicans went apeshit over that, and wanted to impeach the man even though most Americans didn't. However, when a Republican fools around on the wrong side of the sheets, then it's all, "Well, he's still better than the Democrats." (Keep in mind that in the 10th district race race the Democrat is not accused of adultery.) In essence, these "values voters" are proving that their dedication to preserving the moral purity of this country extends only to the Republican section of the ballot. Very convenient, that.

(In case you were wondering, I think voting for a politician for moral reasons is pretty foolish. Ain't no politician overly concerned about moral values; their primary purpose is to get reelected, and anyone who loses sight of that deserves exactly what he gets.)

BTW, Outfest was yesterday, so the gayborhood was pretty much off-limits to auto traffic. I saw one festival staffer playing the heavy to drivers frustrated by traffic, and he wasn't getting much respect. I'm guessing that had something to do with the fact that he was at the time wearing an orange sweater tied around his neck and was carrying a crocheted shoulderbag. Not exactly a power-outfit, in my view. And his shoes didn't even match the sweater, for Pete's sake.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Omen (or How Satan Fucked Up the Apocalyse)

I rented "The Omen" today, and before I start bitching about it, let me say I still basically enjoy it even after who-knows-how-many years. Now on to the bitching.

When I was little and first saw this film* I thought, "Wow! Satan sure is unstoppable in this movie. He kills everyone who opposes him." As an adult, I realize that Satan does indeed kill all of his enemies...but only clumsily, and usually long after it matters. First, there's the nanny, driven to hideous and public suicide to clear the way for the evil governess who will shepherd Damien (the AntiChrist) through his diabolic childhood. Were I the Father of Lies, I'd have arranged for a nice, non-conspicuous traffic accident, something no one would question, instead of an unforgettably horrific death just after the cutting of Damien's fifth birthday cake. Then there's the fallen priest, who gets speared by a lightning rod just after he tells Gregory Peck (foster father to the AntiChrist) everything he needs to know to unravel the tangled web of lies surrounding the birth of his son. Isn't killing him at that point like putting on the condom in the cab ride home? It's bad enough that Satan takes out foster mother Lee Remick to prevent her from having a baby she'd intended to abort anyway, but what makes it worse is that he has to subcontract the job to a five-year-old with a tricycle. Finally, there's the photographer who is fantastically beheaded by a pane of glass...after he's helped Peck get hold of the clutch of sacred daggers needed to put an end to Beelzebub Junior.

Are you seeing a pattern here? Satan's good at causing deaths, but he makes a cat's cradle out of scheduling them. Hell, come to think of it he isn't very good causing them either; remember, it's not the Prince of Darkness who balks Peck in the end, but the good old London PD and their trusty sidearms. I never bought into that Revelations stuff, but even if I did "The Omen" has shown me that Satan's no more likely to bring about the end of the world than Daffy Duck.

*I'm not very easily frightened and never was, so as a child I was allowed to watch all the stuff kids weren't supposed to watch. I saw "The Omen", "The Exorcist", "Audrey Rose" and others of that ilk with nary a bad dream.